When you hear the term “Summer Slide,” you envision lazy afternoons racing down the slide or taking a fun ride into the pool. In education, the “Summer Slide,” actually describes what happens when young minds sit idle for three months.

As parents approach the summer break, many are thinking about vacations, trips to the pool, how to keep children engaged, the abrupt changes to everyone’s schedule—and how to juggle it all. What they might not be focusing on is how much educational ground their children could lose during the three-month break from school, particularly when it comes to reading.

Floyd Elementary School is partnering with United Way of Midland County to keep the students engaged this summer in a lot of fun ways.

Because of the generosity of hundreds of people in the community, all 358 students at Floyd received a special gift during the last week of school—a free yearly membership to Club Connect. This innovative new on-line program inspires a love of reading and giving back. It provides students a fun place online to engage in reading, play educational learning games, explore new books and be inspired by kids who are making a difference in their communities.

“The research shows the negative impact from a long summer vacation without substantive reading taking place. It is critical that we offer alternatives to our families,” shared Rod Dishaw, Principal at Floyd Elementary. “Club Connect is a cutting edge way to get kids learning and interacting with literature over the summer to help eliminate that “Summer Slide. The fact that we were able to provide every student in the school with a membership card due to the generosity of so many United Way donors is something that I am enormously grateful for.”

In addition, Floyd and United Way partnered with many other local agencies to create the Summer Passport of Fun.

“The Passport provides students with a variety of fun, educational, and free activities that they, and their families, can do together,” shared Ann Fillmore, Executive Director of United Way of Midland County. “Activities include everything from reading books and attending day camp to participating in summer school, checking out a book, or spending time on Club Connect.”

Many Floyd staff members are volunteering at the Floyd library this summer, where kids can check out books, listen to a story and participate in the Grace A. Dow Library reading program every Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. – noon and Wednesday from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

West Midland Family Center is offering free family swim nights and Chippewa Nature Center is providing educational programs. Messiah Lutheran Church will also be hosting a food give-away for families in the Floyd area on July 16th from noon to 3:00 p.m. that will include help with summer meals as well as some fun reading and learning activities.

Each time the student completes an activity, they get a stamp in their passport. When they collect eight stamps, they earn prizes like ice cream cones, books, bowling, Loons game tickets and much more. Over 13 local businesses came together to donate prizes to reward the children for their efforts.

“The wonderful thing about living in Midland County is that whenever there is something important and worthwhile to do for children you can count on everyone stepping up and helping,” shared a parent of a Floyd student. “Thank you to a community values our kids, their education, and future.”